'Le Huffington Post' to Launch in France

The Huffington Post, the news and opinion website that has been an influential upstart in U.S. journalism since 2005, is expanding to France.

Media group Le Monde, which owns the centre-left daily of the same name, has inked a deal with the Huffington Post Media Group to create a new French-language web site with an editorial staff based in France, the parties said on Monday.

"Le Huffington Post", as it will be named, will be launched before the end of the year with a French newsroom created in coming weeks. A search is under way for an editor in chief.

No financial detail was released.

"This will be ... an information site and a platform of expression for bloggers and writers of note," Ariana Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post, was quoted saying in Le Monde.

The Huffington Post, which was purchased by AOL for $315 million in February, has already launched international sites in Canada and Britain. Negotiations are underway for a site to be launched in Brazil, Huffington told Le Monde.

Le Monde launched an online site, www.lepost.fr, in 2007 that was designed to be an online portal for citizen journalism and bloggers, with a focus on celebrities. But the venture posted a loss of about 1 million euros ($1.4 million) last year, despite attracting some 3 million unique visitors per month.

A third partner in the French venture is Les Nouvelles Editions independantes, a holding company of investment banker Matthieu Pigasse, part owner of Le Monde together with Pierre Berge, former business partner of designer Yves Saint Laurent, and Internet tycoon Xavier Niel. ($1 = 0.732 Euros) (Reporting By Alexandria Sage; Additional Reporting by Gwenaelle Barzic; Editing by David Holmes)